On Sunday, the presidents of Russia and Turkey agreed on further steps to create a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib province during their meeting at the G20 Summit in Argentina, according to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Talks between both nations regarding the creation of a 15 to 20 km demilitarized zone began in Sochi in September 2018.
Since then, President Tayyip Erdogan “asked for extra time to delay the beginning of joint patrolling of this Syrian governorate due to its failure to guarantee security,” according to TASS.
At this meeting the sides confirmed their agreement on Idlib.
They noted that despite "active and consistent actions of our Turkish colleagues, still not all extremists obeyed the demand to leave the 20km demilitarized zone,” as recounted by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.
High-level meetings between Russia, Turkey, Syria, and rebel groups regarding the conflict were held in Astana between Nov. 28-29, to address efforts for a “political solution to the Syrian conflict, ”in which the demilitarized area was agreed upon.
“The determination to fully implement the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-escalation Area was reiterated and the importance of a lasting ceasefire in Idlib was stressed,” according to the ministry foreign affairs of Turkey.
In September, both countries, along with Syrian rebels, agreed to remove all weapons from the zone which separated government and non-government forces.
As part of this deal, Turkey was tasked with patrolling the area. For this purpose, the army developed armored cars.
In context, Syrian rebels have lost a considerable degree of territory in recent months.
The prospect of a strong offensive against one of the last rebel-held territories by the Syrian government could imply a strong outflow of combatants from the country to Turkey, which then called for a cease-fire.